For the majority of you, your wedding day will be one of the biggest events you'll ever plan. Dozens of components you're juggling are trying to fall into place. Ideas are being thrown at you from every person you run across. I would also assume you probably have dreams of your own of how your wedding is going to flow.
After being a part of so many weddings, I’ve come to the conclusion that weddings are part everlasting unification, part Broadway show, and part family reunion all squeezed into a single day (or weekend). So how long should that day really be? Well, that really depends on you, your venue, and what exactly you want to accomplish. Whether it's your dream ceremony, toasts from everyone daring to grab the mic, or people's feet hurting when they leave from dancing so much, you can pretty much dictate exactly how you want people to enjoy your day.
With this in mind, I’m here to help you create an internal dialogue of how long your wedding should be. First, let's discuss a few pointers:
1. The idea is you have the venue all day - this is not meant for the elopers or the super short half-day weddings (though you could probably apply a little bit of this).
2. You plan on actually having a reception - this is for the party people!
3. You understand that these ideas are also influenced by my own wedding - my ideas might not necessarily vibe with yours so in the end, do what makes you and your partner happy. ALWAYS.
I personally think a 7-8 hour day is perfect (for everyone). This allows for enough time to do all of the important parts of your day comfortably. It's not too long, but it's not too short. If you're having a mid-afternoon or early evening ceremony, your day will likely be getting started around 1-2pm and will roll into the later hours of the night.
So when do I (personally) think your wedding should end?
6-8pm? - Usually people are still wanting to party and will try to find something else to do if the party ends too early. More than likely they'll move on to another bar!
9PM? - Ahhhh, we're just getting warmed up! If we were going out on the town we would just be calling a cab to head out - don't call it quits just yet!
10-11pm? - I think this is the perfect time to end your day. It’s late enough that people feel they got all of the wedding day, but early enough where friends and family can get home safe and at a decent hour.
12am? - Only for the wicked! If you're still rockin', head to the bars and keep the party goin'!
So what did I do? My wedding ended at 11pm and although I had the best day of my life (2nd to that of my son being born), it was a marathon for some of my guests and family members. Most of our guests had left by 10pm. By 11pm, it was just me and my wife on the dance floor!
No matter what you decide, do everything you can to follow your hearts towards the type of party you want to have. If you aren't dancers don't emphasize the dance portion. If you're late night dance machines, then leave a couple hours for your and your guests to get down and dirty together on the dance floor! Whatever you guys want to do, make it happen. Schedule enough time to truly enjoy every bit of your day without being rushed to do things others may want to do. This is your day and you deserve to love every minute. - Randy